Set, ultimately, makes me very happy. At the end of the day, that’s why I’m willing to work for him, despite all the headaches.
The happiness I feel with him isn’t fluffy or picturesque. It’s brutal. It hurts. It’s a sunburn, and the smell of blood in the back of your throat when you’ve been running for too long. It’s bruises and scratches from falling down the side of a hill, it’s the skin and blood and sweat I’ve left behind, scraped off by cacti thorns, dripping off my body.
The happiness I feel with Set is in the same family of the happiness you feel at a rock concert, in a mosh pit, when it’s like the whole world ceases to be except for this moment and you realize pain was never really such a bad thing, anyways. It’s the smell of smoke and gunpowder. It’s laughing because the world is so pointless and beautiful and cruel and it’s so absurd that you’re still here after all that’s happened. It’s the feeling in your chest and how your throat tightens up when you think to yourself “I am more than this.” It’s the ache in your tired body and the anger that moves masses to their feet.
It isn’t pleasant. It is so much more than nice. Happiness with Set is a freedom and joy that sweetness can never touch.
I really, really, really wish I wasn’t about to make this analogy, but I am: sadness approaches with the foreboding of a storm, rages with the same intensity, and threatens with the same uncertainty.
I’m lucky enough not to be depressed at the moment (as far as I know) but I’ve been there and it’s not pretty. You get to the point where the first hints of a bad mood make your stomach feel cold with anticipation and dread, wondering: how far am I about to sink? am I going to want to relapse? how am I going to stop myself? Because sadness isn’t just sadness, it’s a threat of worse things to come. Sadness is a valentine from the entropy poisoning my mind from the inside, whispering at me give up, give in, nothing matters, nothing will ever matter; the burning feeling that would come to grow against my skin until I felt nothing but a desire to bleed.
I haven’t self-harmed in almost a year, and that’s partly thanks to Set. I’m pretty new to kemeticism but I’ve read somewhere that there’s this idea when you’re dealing with a monster, you can get a bigger, badder monster of the same breed on your side to help you defeat it. Insomuch as it comes to dealing with the chaos in me -which seems to be my brain’s way of dealing with the sadness that seems to permeate everything- Set does just that. Or maybe he just provides me with the encouragement and inspiration to defeat it myself -the line tends to blur a little.
That sadness and all the urges it causes is never going to leave me. I am probably always going to want to hurt myself when I get upset; the images flash through my mind and tempt self-destruction every day. So, just as my patron defeats the serpent every day, I’ll defeat the isfet in my mind, every day.
“The truth is destruction is intrinsic to change,
Transformation is one part beauty
And nine parts pain.”
That’s a little rhyme I came up with about two weeks before I got into kemeticism, and in hindsight it was probably Set-inspired -it sure does sound like the kind of thing he likes to say. Truth be told, it’s difficult to think of anything Set says or does (when he’s being serious, I mean) that doesn’t have something to do with transformation, and I think that’s because of the sentiment in my little micro-poem: whether people like it or not, transformation is both inevitable and necessary to life, to growth, to beauty, and to survival. And, painful or not, change can’t happen without some destruction. ‘Out with the old, in with the new’, and so on.
For the most part, I agree with his views on transformation. It’s only his goals that I feel iffy about. I’m starting to get the feeling we have very different ideas on what the endgame should look like. But then, I guess that’s a different issue altogether.
Over the years I’ve spent more and more time down in the canyons behind my house, with its red dirt and sheer cliffs and scratchy plants and barbed wire fences and occasionally the sound of coyotes howling in the distance. It used to just be to kill boredom, but over time I noticed that I feel different out there, a mile or so away from any other people. I can convince myself that I’m really out there, in the wilderness -if I avoid looking at the refineries in the distance. Everything that happens to me is up to me; every risk I take and all the ground I cover is mine, indisputably. There is no pretending out there, just me and the hot sun and the hills. I get bruised from falling, scratched from the yucca plants and cacti, and burned from the sun, but the canyons are the only place I can stand the silence. They’re the only place I can breathe.
I bring all this up because that’s how Set feels, that’s the core of my understanding of him that doesn’t come from books. He’s the god of the desert -in Egyptian terms, the land a long way from civilization. I know that going on a little hike is hardly comparable with actually living out in the desert back in those days, but I still connect it to him. Not just because of the desert scenery, but because of how when I’m out there I feel wild and free and self-reliant, strong and capable and able to really move for once. I always feel restrained, back up here in houses and on streets, in civilization. I feel like I become a persona, a socially acceptable interpretation of myself; it isn’t quite fake, but it isn’t authentic either, and it is so very far from free.
In the canyons, away from other people and from mirrors, my every persona falls away and I become nothing but my thoughts and the actions I’m taking. No pretending. No playing nice. No bullshit. It’s not necessarily pleasant and it sure as fuck isn’t safe, but it’s freedom and harsh beauty and I love it.
Working with Set feels the exact same way. (Side note: confusedwren on tumblr pointed out that the sentiment I expressed for this prompt is very similar to something written in Temple of the Cosmos!)
Companionship is the reason I work with Set. It’s the main thing he has to offer me in exchange for my devotion. Like, yeah, there’s all this other stuff I gain and stuff he has on his agenda; all these reasons and ambitions for both of us. But you know what was the first thought that ever actually made me begin to want him around? “I don’t want to be lonely anymore.”
Companionship is his main leverage in our relationship, and he knows it. It shows in practically everything that he does and says to me. That’s why he initially moved our relationship into ‘consort’ territory. It’s the one thing he’s always consistently provided, because he knows how much it means to me -and how, on my end, it translates directly into loyalty to him. Really, the ‘romantic’ portion isn’t necessary at all, it’s just a particular variety of really strong emotions that I wasn’t equipped to deal with, and especially not prepared to resist, at the time that all this began. He could’ve acted like a father figure, or other kind of mentor, or just a friend, but as long as he showed me he would consistently be there and keep me company, he didn’t have to do much else.
Anyways, he is good company -funny, down-to-earth, honest. Of course, he’s got a wide streak of Asshole in his character, but hey, so do I -it’s not unusual for me to make fun of my friends and be made fun of in turn as a way of joking around. When it comes to the heavier stuff, let’s just say he’s gotten better at it as time goes on. And I mean, I’m every bit as clueless as he is when it comes to ~~feelings~~ so I don’t have much room to talk.
I’d like to think that he enjoys my company, too, but it’s sometimes hard for me to keep our relationship in perspective. No matter how much I might wish he was an equal partner, on my level, to whom I matter as much as he matters to me, that just isn’t the case. And, given our history (and my history with people in general), I’m more than aware that he could be manipulating me to get his way. It is what it is, I guess.